What are your signs of positive life changes?

Butterfly side view small 2007Have you certain signs in your life when positive changes are about to occur?

I have always LOVED Tiger Swallowtail butterflies ever since my early days in Kansas, and for decades I have noticed how they tend to turn up at moments of great personal change.  I like to think of them as an encouraging sign that I am on just the right path.

Twice in the past month these butterflies have come right up to me to say hello!

First on a drive on the Highway of Legends in our first week here, a Swallowtail flew right by.  It was such a glorious morning, and we soon found out what a beauty of a drive it is up from La Veta to North Lake! 

Then yesterday, during my morning walk, I saw a swallowtail across the way and sure enough, she flew right over to greet me.

Spanish Peaks in winterI just learned how the Ute, Navajo, Apache, and Comanche peoples first settled this area to be near the Spanish Peaks.  These mountains were their sacred place for performing ceremonies.  For them, this was the place where mankind first emerged from the womb of the Earth.

So far this region seems quite magical to us as well!

Robert Mirabal and the power of intention

“You never know what the spirit of intention can do.”  –Robert Mirabal

fort franciscoWe spent a marvelous morning on Saturday at the Native American Celebration at Fort Francisco in La Veta. 

First of all the Fort is a beautiful example of 1800s adobe construction.  Their exhibits are also a wonderful collection of memorabilia from the past century, like a a walk through the homes of the early 1900s.  Old furniture, clothes, and my favorite, photos of people from our past.

Then we enjoyed a dance performance by three girls from the Jicarilla Apache Nation.  The highlight was a performance by Robert Mirabal of Taos Pueblo.  Yes, his music is a wonder, but I also found great wisdom in his words.

Robert MirabalRobert shared with this mostly European-American crowd the history of this area and what it meant to Native Americans.  He explained why his ancestors came up here from the south and kept the trails alive and fresh for others. He spoke of intention in our daily life.

When Robert plays his flutes and sings, it sounds like he is channeling the life and  stories of his ancestors, bringing up vivid imagery of our Native American past.

And in a way, isn’t that what we all do each day, channel our ancestors?  So much of who we are is determined by choices made by our parents and grandparents.

I am honored to be now living on this land where the buffalo roamed, the place where my grandfather hoped to retire.  I feel closer to the land than I have in decades, and I intent to protect this land and its heritage.

Creating real change in your life

self-responsibility ownershipIt may be tempting to think that reading the right books or finding the right therapist will change you.

Although it is essential that you choose carefully and trust your inner wisdom in selecting the proper guides to assist you in this deep, emotional process, you are the only one who can create real change in your life.

You must take full responsibility for changing your life and your perspective on love, and be willing to do the hard work necessary to create deep personal change.

Spiritual work is not something you can copy from someone else and expect the same results. The spiritual work needed by each of us is quite unique to our own spiritual needs, determined by where we have been harmed in our individual pasts.

It’s like attending a new exercise class.  Others may be doing the same or similar moves, but if you aren’t sensitive to your own needs, you won’t gain the benefits you seek.

Too many of us think we can simply purchase the right book and change our perspective.  That’s probably why we buy so many self-help books.  Read a book and change your life!

Although I applaud the fact that you are aware enough to know you need to change, let me reemphasize the fact that real personal change only comes about through some serious emotional heavy lifting, what I like to call soul surgery.

What is that?    It is spending time alone taking a hard look at yourself, at how you have treated yourself and others, and at how you have brought yourself to this difficult point in your life.  Then it requires taking full self-responsibility from here on out.

Taking 100% self-responsibility is one of the most important first steps towards genuine self-love and self-respect.  When we take less than 100% self-responsibility, we operate from the victim role. (Take care of me, I’m inadequate.)

When we try to take more than 100% responsibility for those around us, we are playing the rescuer role, but most of us do not have the power to rescue anyone else.  This is simply a distraction from focusing on our own needs.

My advice?  Save yourself, the only one you truly have the power to save.

Self-responsibility is best taken as a celebration rather than as a burden.  It is a freeing act. Taking responsibility for ourselves takes back power over our own happiness.

Childhood is over.  We can only take action in this moment.  Instead of focusing on what somebody did to you in the past, you must now focus on what you want to create in your future.  No more blaming or shaming others.

Here are some helpful affirmations for taking full self-responsibility:

  • I am completely responsible for all my own feelings and actions.

  • I am completely responsible for my own health and welfare.

  • I give others complete responsibility for their feelings and actions.

  • I take complete responsibility for making and keeping agreements, no excuses!

  • I take responsibility for expressing my true essence in the world in positive and loving ways.

This article is an excerpt from my book: How To Believe In Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust, and Your Own Inner Wisdom.


Negative thoughts are bad for your brain

I just discovered a new show on TNT called ‘Perception.‘  Have your seen it yet?  Very interesting!

Last night the main character, a neuroscientist played by Eric McCormack from Will & Grace, discussed an essential fact to know about how our brains work.  Scientists have shown that when it comes to our brains, what we focus on does GROW!

Every time you access a certain memory in your brain, your neurons create more connections to that thought making it ever more accessible the next time.

Here’s how that’s important to your mental health when you break up with somebody.  Nobody wants to focus on sad thoughts from your past, but it happens.  Like in that great song Someone That I Used To Know:

Gotye band“You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness…   like resignation to the end, always the end.”

How does this work?  You seek some sort of resolution to the feelings of abandonment and pain, but by focusing so strongly on rejection, you build up more and more connections to negative thoughts.  Not good for your mental health!

The best solution?  Seek out a good therapist who can help you focus completely on those thoughts until you find a way past your past trauma.  Sometimes the solution is Gestalt or some other method which pushes you through the whole experience to the other side with a nice jolt of insight and catharsis.

Whatever you do, don’t ruminate on past, negative thoughts forever.  It’s a nasty trap which can ruin your life, causing you to never believe in love again.  Don’t let one bad relationship ruin you life!

To learn more about getting past your past, don’t miss my new book: How To Believe In Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust and Your Own Inner Wisdom.

Excellent advice from Maya…

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”  –   Maya Angelou

maya AngNow there’s something I wish I had known at 18, instead of waiting until I was in my 40s!

I know I made far too many others priorities throughout my life, when they only saw me as one of many options.

This came from my unfortunate habit of not valuing myself fully.  Get some self-respect early on.  Don’t wait.

“I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, “I love you.” There is an African saying, which is:          Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

Here’s another invaluable idea.  How could anyone ever love you as you deserve, if they have no love for themselves?  They have nothing to give… be on the look out for them!

“Bitterness is like cancer.   It eats upon the host.                But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”

We have such a fear of expressing good clean anger in this culture, especially as women.  Don’t sit on your anger and be bitter.  Don’t let it eat at you.  Tell the person who hurt or betrayed you how angry you are, and then MOVE ON!

And don’t mistake hurt for anger.  Feel the injustice done to you as the only emotion that can protect you from future hurt.  Get angry and defend yourself against future injustice.

And finally, Maya said:  “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Don’t be too hard on yourself for past mistakes.  If you had known better you would have done better.  Now you do.

Go out in the world and DO BETTER!

“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!”  –  Maya


Midlife Divorce Skyrocketing!

Don’t miss this excellent article over at Better After 50 about why midlife divorce numbers are skyrocketing!

A psychotherapist surveyed her divorcing clients and found it was all about emotional abuse.  This article contains an accurate description of what it feels like to be in a marriage where emotional abuse is present.

Unfortunately I had some experience with this in my first marriage…

Want to learn more?  Go read my piece: “The Process of Escaping Emotional Abuse.”